Membership Management Tips: Attracting Younger Members

membership management

How much focus are you giving to younger members? Has your organisation included recruiting and engaging with younger people in their membership management plans? While it is easy to say ‘but we are open to all’, when it comes to recruiting new members and engaging existing ones, there is definitely not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Especially when it comes to those younger than 30.

In this post we will explore the reasons why you need to adopt a different approach when it comes to marketing to younger members. And why Generation Y are integral to the future success of your organisation.

Why You Need Younger Members

When we talk about younger members we are referring to those born after 1979. Sometimes referred to as Gen Y or Millennials. They are the ones you need to be engaging with now as they are the ones who will become your donors, supporters and potentially members. And those already in their 30s should already be active members, participating in events and committees or even already on the board. In short, they are the future of your organisation and vital to creating a diverse membership.

By not targeting Millennials, you run the risk of creating a generation gap within your organisation and being seen as only appealing to those of a certain age.

Does Your Membership Organisation Appeal To Generation Y?

Avoiding a generation gap means your organisation will need to develop a strategy for recruiting and engaging younger members. However, it is not as easy as just applying the same strategy you have used year-in-year out. To attract the attention of Gen Y you’ll need to first take steps to understand them, then re-focus your marketing, communications and fundraising strategies to target, embrace and engage them.

The problem many organisations face is realising that these younger prospects do not engage in the same way their older counterparts do. Traditional, tried-and-tested marketing methods do not resonate with them. Even that online content you have worked so hard to create may fall short when it comes to Gen Y if they do not find it compelling enough to share. In short, they have a different set of needs, interests and values.

Your organisation leaders and long-term members may have very different concerns and interests in the way you manage your membership. And these may be especially different when it comes to younger prospects who are just beginning to engage with you. Your biggest challenge will be to understand how to communicate with them effectively and know what they’re looking for. Meeting their expectations and needs will help you gain and retain your next generation of members and sustain your organisation into the future.

Flexibility and a willingness to change the way you communicate will help you better understand Gen Y and gain their interest.

Building Relationships With Potential Younger Members

So what can you do to re-target your marketing and begin resonating with younger members? Here are 3 tips to help you get started:

  1. Create focused messages: use social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine to reach Gen Y in their own backyard. Curate content from other sources if you get stuck, until you have a good grasp of what works and what grabs their interest. Above all make sure you communicate with them about things they care about.
  2. Target your campaigns: be seen where they are and engage with them on their terms. Offline marketing campaigns too should include content which will target this generation.
  3. Offer them opportunities to get involved: show them what’s in it for them by staging events, fundraisers or activities they could get involved in. Gen Y is noted for preferring to get involved in opportunities which are challenging, varied, creative and innovative.

Final Tip: use your organisation blog to publish content that will appeal to this generation. Offer lead magnets such as eBooks or podcasts which they will need to supply an email address in order to access. Don’t stop there…once you have their email you can continue engaging with them by sending them targeted emails about new content, up coming events and those opportunities you have created for them to get involved. With the online membership software, you can group your Gen Y prospects together and mail all of them at the same time. This feature means you easily create targeted emails and ensure they are delivered to the right prospects.

Finally I would like to share with you some key trends from the 2014 Millennial Impact Report. Although this report is based on findings from the U.S and primarily focuses on preferences in the workplace, it does offer some useful insight into how this generation ‘ticks’ and which could be useful when it comes to creating your own targeted campaigns.

Key trends identified included:

  • Millennials engage with causes to help other people, not institutions.
  • Millennials support issues rather than organizations.
  • Millennials prefer to perform smaller actions before fully committing to a cause.
  • Millennials are influenced by the decisions and behaviors of their peers.
  • Millennials treat all their assets (time, money, network, etc.) as having equal value.
  • Millennials need to experience an organisation’s work without having to be on site.

If you’re thinking about moving your membership process online so you can start to effectively target the Generation Y and cut down on admin, download our free guide that gives you information on the type of functionality you’ll need before you need it.

Membership management

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